First, let me start by saying that not all raw pet food is created equal, so it is important to do your research and choose a brand that uses high quality ingredients, natural and safe methods of ensuring cleanliness of the product (i.e. clean sourcing and fermentation, and no high pressure pasteurization), and meets the nutritional needs of your cat or dog. The better the quality of food, the safer it is to prepare and feed. Our two most trusted brands are Answers Pet Food and SmallBatch Pet Food.
Thawing and Storing
Raw food can be thawed in a cold bath or in the refrigerator. If defrosting raw in the refrigerator, it’s best to keep it on a shelf where it is coldest rather than in the door. Many people choose to thaw and store their raw in a dish separate from the original packaging. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel are better than plastic containers for this purpose. Plastic runs the risk of leaching phthalates and other chemicals into your pet’s food, and it is porous meaning it can hold onto bacteria if not properly cleaned.
Most raw pet foods can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days, while Answers raw pet food can be stored for up to 7 days due to fermentation. It is essential to thoroughly clean the storage container before putting a new set of raw food in to ensure it stays as fresh as possible.
Just like when meat is prepared for human consumption, it is essential to wash your hands, workspace, and dishes with soap and hot water. Some choose to use antibacterial wipes for surfaces like counters and refrigerators. We recommend using a nonporous cleaning utensil instead of sponges because sponges can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Because food digests better at room temperature than when it is cold, I prefer to let my pets’ meals sit out for 30 minutes before feeding. If you don’t have the time, mix it with a little warm water. Please note that microwaving raw food is not recommended. Raw food should not be left out for more than an hour total. If you feed Answers Raw Goat Milk, Cow Kefir, or fermented stocks you can leave these at room temperature for up to 8 hours, which will give the beneficial bacteria a chance to grow.
It is important to feed kibble and other cooked carb-heavy food separately from raw food due to the different rates of digestion. Feeding these foods together can set your dog’s gut up for a bacterial imbalance.
Use non-plastic bowls for serving raw food. Make sure to clean the dishes with hot soap and water using a cleaning utensil designated just for pet bowls, and disinfect the cleaning utensil once a week using non-chlorine bleach.